It’s official: Fathom is dead. Carnival Corporation announced that it will be transferring the 704-guest Adonia back to P&O Cruises UK in the summer of 2017. But while the news spells the end for Carnival’s short-lived “voluntourism” cruise line, it doesn’t spell the end of Fathom’s social impact experiences – nor does it mean the end of Cuban cruises targeting American guests.
Carnival Corporation revealed it has applied to the Cuban government for permission to operate cruises to Cuba with its existing brands. Some sites have speculated that Carnival Cruise Line’s Fantasy Class ships might be used, but it’s more likely that smaller vessels would be better-suited to Cuban ports of call at this moment, the vast majority of which lack the facilities to dock ships much bigger than Fathom’s Adonia.
The jury is out as to whether Fathom was a hit or a miss, with past and prospective guests filing in on both sides of the fence. Fathom sailings will continue to operate through early next year, but Carnival Corporation plans to roll socially-minded excursions developed for Fathom into its existing brands next year, thus keeping its “social impact” drive alive.
Fathom was far from the first cruise line to offer voyages to Cuba; sailings on international cruise lines have been available to guests from Canada, Europe and abroad for decades now. But it did make a noteworthy impact in being one of the first cruise lines to offer voyages to Cuba that were primarily marketed at passengers from the United States.
That torch is being carried on by Carnival Corporation and plenty of other cruise lines, as we’ve outlined in our table below. We’ve left Fathom here, for now, and will remove it from the table once the line operates its last official sailing sometime next year.
Who Sails to Cuba?
|LINE||SHIP||APPROVED?||START DATE||DEPARTURE PORT|
|Celestyal Cruises, also known as Cuba Cruise||Celestyal Crystal||Yes; sailings began in late 2013.||Already in operation; sailings operate year-round beginning in late 2016.||Havana, Cuba or Montego Bay, Jamaica|
|Fathom*||Adonia||*Fathom will cease operations in June 2017.||Miami|
|Lindblad Expeditions||Panorama II||Yes||December 7, 2016||Havana or Cienfuegos, Cuba|
|Pearl Seas Cruises||Pearl Mist||No||October 26, 2016||Miami|
|Ponant||Le Ponant||Yes; "People-to-People" voyage.||January 2017||Havana|
|Royal Caribbean||Empress of the Seas||No||TBA||Miami (likely)|
|Star Clippers||Star Flyer||Yes||December 27, 2016||Havana or Cienfuegos, Cuba (12/27 departure begins in St. Maarten).|
|Victory Cruise Lines||Victory I||Pending||October 28, 2016||Port Canaveral (inaugural); Miami.|
|Viking Ocean Cruises||Viking Sun||Yes||December 1, 2017||Miami|
What do you think – was Fathom a hit or a miss? Let us know by using the comment form below